By Alli Patton
An overall proud and wise re-assertion of what Lainey Wilson does best - country with flair.
Known for painting herself unapologetically with songs that boast pop-country sensibilities with an edge, Lainey Wilson has only furthered that reputation with Bell Bottom Country, her sophomore album.
Bell Bottom Country is a fun, energetic work full of pride and power. While many of the songs on the album rumble with energy and anthemic thunder, others tend to get lost in the storm. Wilson hasn’t strayed far from her signature sound - giving fans her self-described “country with a flare. While the album attempts to spoon-feed listeners a little rock, funk and a small bite of soul, everything still has an overwhelming country aftertaste.
The record kicks off with a shriek-inducing opener in ‘Hillbilly Hippie’, a beat-heavy banger that will soundtrack bachelorette parties for years to come. Barely audible over a bellowing bride tribe, no one in Music City, USA will be safe from this song once the next Caitlyn or Ashleigh decides to tie the knot.
While Bell Bottom Country has plenty of those sorts of ups, the album is not without its downs. Where one track is a hair toss and middle finger away from soundtracking your next breakup-fueled bender, the next hangs heavy with heartbreak or moves with caution because of it.
In the lulls of the album lie slow-burners like ‘Watermelon Moonshine’; the singer taking a page from Deana Carter, having a ”Strawberry Wine” moment on the track. “Too young to know what love was / But we were learning on a sweet buzz / There’s never nothin’ like the first time / And mine’s always gonna taste like watermelon moonshine”, Wilson sings to a gentle lullaby.
Other stripped-back tracks are easily forgettable, especially when sandwiched between the rock-tinged, soon-to-be stadium-filling ‘Hold My Halo’ and the fun, fiery, funk-fuelled ‘Grease’. Boasting lusty lyrics, thick grooves and a guttural bass line, the latter is a country-funk anthem about the sexiest thing in country music: a man on a tractor.
“I’m four-fifths of reckless and one-fifth of Jack” Wilson sings on the outlaw-flavored ‘Wildflowers and Wild Horses’ but don’t let the tough, defiant tunes overshadow the glimmers of vulnerability that peak through. Tracks like the sturdy ‘Heart Like A Truck’, the charming ‘Those Boots (Daddy’s Song)’ and the down-home ‘Live Off’ play like little lessons in loving yourself and where you came from.
Riddled with various clichéd country-isms, but heavy with a sense of pride, Bell Bottom Country is an unfiltered, forget-you-if-you-can’t-hang kind of a good time wrapped up into 14 songs. At times forgettable, sometimes overpowering, it’s an overall proud and wise re-assertion of what Lainey Wilson does best - country with flair.
Lainey Wilson's 2022 album, Bell Bottom Country, is out October 28th via This Is Hit / BBR Records. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:
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